10 Wondrous, Waterless Whales - Atlas Obscura Lists

10 Wondrous, Waterless Whales

From massive, still-oozing skeletons to a behemoth made of thousands of pounds of recycled plastic.

More than 50 million years ago, a now-extinct mammal called Pakicetus—roughly the size of a wolf, with four legs, a pointy snout, and a tail—gave rise to the cetaceans that would eventually ply the planet’s oceans. Ever since humans began shoving off land and into that blue world, we have been fascinated by the whales swimming and spouting there—even when those creatures are hard to see. (And, eventually, we would hunt many to the brink of extinction.)

Ishmael, the narrator of Herman Melville’s cetacean-obsessed novel Moby-Dick, observes that many denizens of the sea “glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure.” But not always. Here are 10 places where landlubbers can marvel at some of the ocean’s largest residents without ever setting sail.